Super surprise

Last winter I was given access to a huge load of horse poo, I eagerly took up the offer even though I was aware of the risk of introducing alot of new weed seed. Early in spring I noticed a wee seedling I didn't recognise so elected to let it grow. Well it grew into this. It's an Amamaranth I think, perhaps some of my gardening friends can help me identify it properly. Whatever it is I'm really impressed with it even though it's grown really huge and probably taking quite a few nutrients from the blueberries underneath it.

Aubergine and green

This colour combination has influenced me alot
in the last couple of days.

It's very striking in the garden and I reckon it's worked

beautifully in the entrance way
In a spur of the moment decision yesterday I decided that aubergine would be much nicer on the doors than the dull earthy colour I'd already chosen. I couldn't wait to try it out and am thrilled with the result. Now I better finish the walls. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to extend this colour scheme into the kitchen without it getting too much. I've got all winter to mull it over cos that will be next summer's painting project.


Seasonal work

Our year follows a pretty similar seasonal pattern. We've just finished gathering firewood for winter. The focus now is on making some money out of apple picking to pay insurance,car rego, rates etc. So while L is out picking from dawn to dusk I have the four kids to organise day in day out. Where previously I had someone to share the work, now I'm it. It's only been two days and I'm having to sort out a whole new routine. Yesterday as I had my shower the little red head (18mths) wrecked the CD player. L was quite pleased because he didn't have to listen to Ben Harper as I got tea ready, but if we don't repair it I might go insane cos it's the best method of drowning out the noise of the middle two bickering. Speaking of going insane I've hurt my back, probably as a result of helping with the firewood, so I can only watch as the weeds get higher and higher in the garden. Being told to take it easy is kind of like a foriegn language to me. Usually if it is not suitable to garden I sew or bake or vacume but I'm having some time on the couch as a grumpy old misery guts. In an effort to count my blessings at least I can handle a bit of knitting and the puppy's are not pooping all over the floor, YET! Also the wee runt is still alive and should make it now as long as she doesn't have anything seriously wrong with her, she is the only one that still needs a home. We'll be very picky about where she goes.I will endeavour to show some pictures of my friends gardens 'cos there are only so many ways I can photograph weeds. The blackberries are mine though. The kids are making frozen smoothie iceblocks with them for when they get home from school.
Plant leafy producers this week, chuck in a few extra lettuces for me, I don't think I'll get any in.


Tomato Soup

As harvest time quickly approaches I've been busy planning and preparing things for storage. The tomatoes have been pretty good this season and I've managed two pots of this soup, it's the best recipie I've ever tried for tom soup. I took some today when I visited my friend's beautiful new baby boy. After my last baby I promised myself to make an effort towards any new mums I knew as the support I got was the difference between coping and not.

14 lb tomatoes
7 large onions
3 Tbsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 Tsp thyme ( I use more)
1 Tsp mint ( I use more)
7 cloves
14 sprigs parsley

Boil together for 1 hour then mouli or pass through sieve. In a bowl mix 8 Tbsp flour and 1/2 pound melted butter to a smooth paste, add to soup and boil for futher 10 minutes. Serve with cheese scones, or freeze some for later.


Is it neurosis

Willow (jack russell) has had a set back today, she's looking like she might reject the beautiful little runt of her litter either that or she is being a very good mummy and protecting it. Several times she has moved it from the others, under the bed and even to under the house, we are very worried and keeping a close eye. She perked up for about an hour after the daddy dog, Sam visited today, the photos are for M and family to help them pick their baby. The wee runt was moved to under the bed again but having a good feed with it's sisters and brother here. Any suggestions anyone?


Timing, not quite right

I got the first lot of brassicas in and they are establishing themselves well. Unfortunately the next lot are still little seedlings so I'm going to have a gap in the supply. I missed the full moon planting for carrots, so there is definatley room for improvement. I did however finally get the first coat of paint onto our entrance-way this week and enjoyed the company of lots of visitors. In the garden prepare and plant for winter, try not to overhead water on curcubits as they will develop mildew. If you haven't already, prune back the grape vines to let in some light and help the air circulate. Harvest seeds on a dry day and label and store in a paper bag.



The ladies at the op shop are just wonderful, I'm kind of a regular and they exclaimed "Gilly do you have some news?" when I picked this beautiful handmade baby gown out. No I don't have any exciting news but must admit I'm ever so cluckky. I'm sure it's a case of wanting what you can't have more than anything. I just can't resist handmade and antique baby clothes especially gowns. Before my Grandma died she and I would go through baby clothes she had made 60 years ago and choose things for my babies. When she died I picked out some items that were destined for the dump because they were falling apart, the buttons, smocking and embroidery inspire me and when I have the skills I want to create a memory quilt to remind me of our days spent waiting for my babies, knitting and talking. Marcie at the op shop said "what are you going to do with it?" Save it, hang it, show it. Maybe give it, one day when I let go of the thought of having any more babies. Talking about it to my friends, it's a hard phase of life to leave behind. A totally different kind of cluckky, mummy chook has nine babies. I still spend most of my free time visiting all the babies but have managed to pot up some seedlings and prune the hedge.


Piling up

Work is really piling up on me I noticed today. There is also a pile on my sewing table and I don't know which pile to start with. Often people ask how do you do it all? Well this is how it gets when I 'm sewing gardening and looking after 4 kids. To top it off, today just about everyone we know decided to visit, it was wonderful to see everyone even if I was a little self concious about my piles! I think the big attraction was puppies, kittens and 5 little chicks which started hatching yesterday. I won't get started on these piles yet as I'm knitting booties for my friend who still hasn't had her baby yet, then shopping tomorrow for my oldest who is starting high school this year. I can't believe how time has flown, I was 19 when I had him and lived in a cute little housebus, I couldn't drive or knit. I made my first bootie when I was pregnant with him and it fitted me when it was finished. I couldn't have imagined that I'd be doing this back then. This week I hope to get
through the first day back at school and playcentre, sew some booties and bags for their last trip to the nelson market and if I'm lucky prune a small hedge and pot up some seedlings. See you on the other side!


Tantalizing treats

For the last few months we have had treats available to eat anytime in the garden, mostly berries. Each morning as I hang out the washing I watch these nectarines growing, the temptation was too much today and I tested the first one, it was pretty good but the earwigs had beat me to the centre of it and I had to shake about 6 out. We have espaliered this tree as well as a Nashi because we don't have much space, I may need to read up on the pruning technique as this tree is now three years old and I would expect the crop to be getting a bit heavier from now on. Unfortunatley my planning of fruit tress wasn't so good because the nectarine, Golden Queen and Blackboy peach will all be ready at once. This winter I will use a gardening voucher I got for Christmas to buy an early peach and maybe some apricots because I don't have the patience to wait for the seedlings I have to produce. The finches that have so enjoyed our sunflowers have also eaten all my greengauge plums while my back was turned, nevermind the crop will be bigger next year. In the recent rain all the brassica, lettuce, pea and bean seeds I planted have sprouted it's awesome to wander around the garden and imagine the harvest in a few months. If any of my local gardening friends want to come and dig up beetroot "bulls blood" seedlings please do as I have hundreds popping up. Anyone have good beetroot or zucchini recipies?

Couldn't finish this post without a picture of the babies, they're all getting fat. Willow is a very good Mummy.